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Sew Simple: One-of-a-kind bags to carry small items

Dear Vicki: A long time ago you wrote about a tiny shoulder bag for a grandmother living in a senior facility, just big enough for her room key. I didn’t have any interest at the time, but now I would love something like that for my cellphone, because I walk a lot and listen to books and podcasts, and I think it would be perfect. Can you repeat this pattern, please? – Anji J.

Dear Anji: Honestly, you know how I love independent designers, but the pattern I talked about is no longer available, as far as I can tell. So I found Vogue 8407. This pattern is amazing; it includes at least six different bags in the pattern – little ones for cellphones, ID or travel documents. These patterns will truly let you launch your creativity to make a one-of-a-kind bag. They make great gifts, too.


Dear Vicki: Last month you recommended a Kwik Sew pants pattern. They are so big. What can I do? I sure hope you can help me save these pants, because I just can’t stand another failure. Thanks so much. I love reading about sewing. – Mary Ann Y.

Dear Mary Ann: I am so sorry about your crisis. When a pattern gives the measurements to help you choose a size to cut, I want you to think about that as just a suggestion. What you need to do is actually measure the pattern pieces and compare them to your measurements. In this case, the important measurements are the top of your thighs and your crotch (tie a ribbon around your waist and then use a tape measure to get the length from front to back through your legs). One of the things that makes this pattern so neat is that it has no side seams. So for you, this is going to save everything. Just pin and test how the pants look if you were to sew side seams. This might fix the problem. Let me know!


This week’s reader’s tip is another from Sharon Harrison, of Belleville, Ill. She writes:

“I store my glue sticks, my blue and purple markers, Fray Check, Sew No More, Fabric Fuse and disappearing basting thread all in zip-top bags. They last so much longer; it’s amazing.”

Vicki Farmer Ellis is the daughter of nationally recognized authority on sewing Eunice Farmer. Send tips and questions to Vicki Farmer Ellis, P.O. Box 220463, St. Louis, MO 63122, or email